Shalom takes on Egypt, PA

FM: Cairo not doing enough against arms smuggling, PA doesn't need more guns.

October 8, 2005 23:15
2 minute read.


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Egypt is not doing enough to stop the flow of weapons into the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said in a Saturday interview with Israel Radio. The foreign minister said anti-tank rockets and shoulder-held missiles have reached Gaza through the Gaza-Egypt border since the Israeli pullout from the coastal territory last month. In the first few days after the withdrawal, thousands of Palestinians and Egyptians crossed the border without checks, but border guards eventually established control. However, Shalom told Israel Radio that weapons smuggling is continuing. "The Egyptians didn't exactly succeed in stopping the transfer of weapons," Shalom said, adding that Israel is worried about the influx. "We hope very much that the Egyptians will do more. There is no doubt that the situation has improved, compared to the first days, but we still see a relatively free movement (of weapons)," he said. Shalom also issued a stiff warning to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to Abbas's planned meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Shalom said that Israel and the international community would not stand by the participation of Hamas in the upcoming parliamentary elections, and that if Hamas was allowed to participate, Israel and possibly international allies would not recognize the legitimacy of those elections. The foreign minister also dismissed Palestinian claims that they did not have sufficient weapons and ammunition to stop the anarchy of the gunman that prevails in the Gaza Strip. Shalom said that the inability to rein in the anarchy was due to lack of political will to do so, and not due to lack of armaments.

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